Treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Behavior with Anafranil

A term of Obsessive compulsive disorder

The International OCD Foundation defines OCD as “a mental health disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, and occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.”

It is estimated that as many as one in 40 adults in the United States have OCD, with one in 100 children having OCD.

There are different treatment options for people with OCD including cognitive behavioral therapy. Medication is also used to help treat obsessive compulsive behavior.  The IOCDF states that approximately 7 out of 10 people with OCD benefit from medications and treatments.

How does Anafranil (clomipramine) work to help people with OCD?

Anafranil (clomipramine) works by restoring the balance of serotonin and other substances in the brain.  As a result it may reduce the urge to repeat tasks such as hand-washing, checking and rechecking on things, repetitive motions, all often performed by people with OCD.  It can also help ease obsessions and repetitive focused thoughts.

Anafranil is a tricyclic antidepressant used for the treatment of:

  • Panic disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
How is Anafranil (clomipramine) prescribed?

This medication is prescribed based on an assessment and diagnosis by your doctor.  It is usually prescribed at a lower dose to begin with and increased slowly over time to allow your body to adjust to the medication.   Brand-name Anafranil (clomipramine) is available in the following doses:

Brand-name Anafranil (clomipramine) – 10 mg

Brand-name Anafranil (clomipramine) – 25 mg

Brand-name Anafranil (clomipramine) – 50 mg

Generic clomipramine is available in the same strengths.

It is important not to increase, decrease, or stop this medication without advice from your doctor. Stopping suddenly may result in unpleasant side effects such as irritability, headache, vomiting, nausea and dizziness.  Take this medication as prescribed, and while it may take 2-3 weeks for the full benefits of the medication to be felt, it is important to take this medication regularly unless instructed otherwise.

Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while taking this medication as it may increase the medication levels in your blood stream.

What are the side effects of Anafranil (clomipramine)?

Speak to your doctor and pharmacist about what side effects you may experience while on this medication.  Some common side effects reported include:

  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

Talk to your pharmacist about serious side effects to be aware of including change of mental state/mood, muscle stiffness, sexual problems, trouble urinating, tremors, bruising and abdominal pain.  This is not a complete list of side effects.

If you have questions about your prescription medications or any other medication, please contact our team at Canada Online Health by calling toll free 1-800-399-DRUG (3784). One of our patient representatives will be happy to assist you or transfer you to a licensed Canadian pharmacist for a free consultation.

This article contains medical information provided to help you better understand this particular medical condition or process, and may contain information about medication often used as part of a treatment plan prescribed by a doctor.  It is not intended to be used as either a diagnosis or recommendation for treatment of your particular medical situation.  If you are unwell, concerned about your physical or mental state, or are experiencing symptoms you should speak with your doctor or primary health care provider. If you are in medical distress please contact emergency services (such as 911).

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